Bennett, Sa'ar, Lapid, and other coalition members
Bennett, Sa'ar, Lapid, and other coalition membersOlivier Fitoussi/FLASH90

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MK Simcha Rothman, of the Religious Zionism party headed by Betzalel Smotrich, objects vehemently, from many angles, to the new government and how it was formed. He explained to Arutz Sheva this week what he sees as the four critical dangers posed by the new coalition.

First and foremost is the fact that it is predicated upon and includes a "terror-supporting Islamist party" – Ra'am. It was Bennett himself, Rothman recalled, "who said just a few weeks ago that it would be a terrible injustice and an immoral crime to do this. It has no legitimacy at all. Yes, some say that the Arab party will have demands only on the civilian level without affecting our security. This is false, for its demands in the Negev, for instance, amount to the formation of an Islamic state there; is that merely a civilian matter? The Islamic Movement incites against Jews from its mosques with false accusations of "harm" to Al-Aqsa – and as a result, Jews lost their lives in the recent violence in Lod and elsewhere; these are not simply "civilian" matters."

Note that the Ra'am party is headed by Mansour Abbas – the deputy chairman of the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel (considered more "moderate" than the Hamas-like Northern Branch), and the very author of the Islamic Movement Charter.

The second catastrophe inherent in the new government, Rothman said, is that the nationalist camp's ideological issues, such as granting basic needs to new communities in Judea and Samaria, will be neglected. "The Knesset Law Committee will be headed by [Labor MK] Gilad Kariv of all people, and governance in the Negev, and the issue of foreign infiltration – all these will be ignored, while the left-wing ministers will be free to act as they wish to infuse their ideologies into the ministries they head."

The third danger is that all affairs of religion in the public arena will be trampled, such as public transportation on the Sabbath and more – "a great offense to the religious and traditional publics."

And the fourth issue, Rothman notes, is that "this government promotes a negative idea of what a public servant and a democracy should be. The new Prime Minister took up his position [with the support of just 5% of the voters – ed.], and with unparalleled lies and deception. In general many politicians don't tell the complete truth – but in this case, the left-wing candidates fulfilled all their promises, while Bennett and his party colleagues broke every one of them."

Asked if he regrets having refused to enter a Netanyahu-led government with the tacit support of an Arab party [which would have avoided the current Arab-left-right coalition], Rothman said, "Of course not! I just explained how terrible that is. Should we commit a crime just so that someone else won't commit that crime?!"

Ketzaleh– former MK Yaakov Katz and head of the National Union party, and long-time Executive Director of the Bet El Yeshiva Center Institutions – largely agrees with MK Rothman, but is somewhat more optimistic.

First of all, Ketzaleh emphasizes, "no matter what happened until now, and no matter how Bennett acted, the fact is that he's now our shliach tzibur, Israel's national highest-ranking servant, and therefore we must all seek his welfare and pray for his success. His success is our success, and we must be forward-looking."

"At the same time, we must make very sure that he knows and constantly keeps in mind that large sectors of the country - the religious public, the traditional sector, the haredim, and more – feel totally tricked and deceived by what he did. He promised clearly that he would not go with the left or with the Arabs, and then he turned around and did exactly that. It doesn't matter what his reasons are; he stole the votes of all those who voted for him."

"Most unfortunately," Ketzaleh continued, "Bennett thus adopted the methodology of his mentor, Benjamin Netanyahu. It's true that Netanyahu did many great things for Israel - standing up to Obama, obtaining the Corona vaccines, and much more – but it is well-known that he simply didn't tell the truth. Even to me he lied outright back in 2009, when he promised to appoint me as Minister of Housing if I would simply recommend that he be tasked with forming the government. I recommended him, and then when it came time to form the government, he simply ignored me and his promise. Sadly, Bennett has taken the same path – and he would be well-advised to act in the knowledge that his voters feel that he totally tricked them."

Ketzaleh is in fact somewhat optimistic that Bennett will be "forced" to implement nationalist policies: "I think there will be a great competition between Netanyahu as head of the opposition and Bennett as Prime Minister as to who will be more right-wing and nationalist. Bennett knows that he has a coalition of exactly 61 MKs, and that if just two of his right-wing MKs switch sides, his government is kaput. On the other hand, there is no counter fear that the left-wing will bring him down if he angers them. Regarding the new 'settlement' of Evyatar, for instance, I don't think he will allow it to be taken down and destroyed…"

"In short," Ketzaleh sums up, "in the end, I don't believe this government will be that bad, nor do I believe that Lapid will end up becoming Prime Minister - but the nationalist public will not forgive Bennett for so brazenly lying to us."

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